In the 2011 Indian Premier League auctions, the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned Kolkata Knight Riders made a huge call when they decided to relieve local superstar and the former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly from their set-up and employ the services of Gautam Gambhir.
Gautam Gambhir was made the captain of the franchise and he was tasked with the job of resurrecting the fortunes of the franchise that had been marred with underwhelming performances and off-field controversies in the first three seasons.
The move was greatly opposed by the loyal Kolkata fans and that was reflected when they turned up in meagre numbers to the Eden Gardens to support their franchise in the first edition.
But, as it turned out, the decision by the KKR thinktank proved to be a masterstroke as Gautam Gambhir went about resurrecting the fortunes of the side and win back the fans in due course. KKR went on to win two IPL titles under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir [2012 and 2014] besides making into the top-4 on five occasions.
Venky Mysore opens up about the reasons behind signing Gautam Gambhir and what led to his success
Venky Mysore. the CEO of Kolkata Knight Riders, recently explained why the 2011 World Cup-winner was a perfect fit for the kind of player the franchise was looking for at the time and what led to him being such a successful captain.
”I got to know Gautam, and I connected him right after that (signing him in 2011). He had expressed that he was surprised that KKR had picked him. I built an amazing relationship with him,” Venky Mysore said in the latest episode of ‘The RK Show’ uploaded on Youtube.
”I think he fitted in perfectly what we were trying to accomplish a franchise, which was about KKR. It’s not about an individual, it’s not about superstars and what not. That’s his personality as well. He’s somebody who’s extremely intelligent, very smart, great instincts, and a terrific leader. That leadership is something that manifested itself on the field. It’s not about making noise and various other things outside of it. He was a very understated, quiet person,” Mysore added.
”We used to have breakfast and coffee or chat about things, or sitting next to each other on flights, have a chat. But on the field, his intensity would change, the switch would go on, and his best instincts as a player and leader came on. That is the kind of personality people follow,” he revealed
“He commanded that. He did not have to make too much noise. He was not a speech-giver. Just a man of few words. He fitted really well with what we wanted in KKR. Gautam would bring the best out of people in the team. It was a fantastic seven years, and I cherish this relation. I still have a great relationship with him and his family,” Venky Mysore signed off.
Gautam Gambhir spent seven seasons at KKR before he moved back to the Delhi Capitals in 2018.